Congratulations is my new favorite word.
I was recently introduced to the concept of frequently and sincerely saying congratulations by my co-workers.
In my company people congratulate each other all the time. I am new to the organization and don't know if there is a particular history or genesis of this phenomenon, but it's very real. Don't get me wrong, we don't all run around patting each other on the back all day, but noticing, mentioning and congratulating achievement is in our DNA.
I have always been a big believer in positive reinforcement and catching people doing something well, and I have had a few bosses who were really good at it too. I have written my share of attaboy, and keep up the good work emails and have frequent positive discussions with my employees all the time not just at review time.
But congratulations adds something more. Congratulations says good work and good outcome. But more than that, it is all about acknowledging personal accomplishment. This may be the key component.
"That was a good meeting" is just an observation of an event.
"Congratulations, that was a good meeting" is a clear statement that I think YOU are the reason the meeting went well.
How often does someone tell you congratulations? How often do you say it?
Try it. Don't save it for graduation and promotions. Use it all the time. And don't shorten it to congrats, and don't send it in an email if you can easily say it in person.
You will be surprised how it feels to say it, and how the other person reacts.